Saigon cyclo driver arrested for robbing Japanese
tourist 1
Saigon cyclo driver arrested for robbing Japanese tourist

Pham Van Dung, a cyclo driver, is held at a police station in HCMC for snatching money from a Japanese tourist. Photo by VnExpress/Quoc Thang.

Pham Van Dung, 49, is being held for investigation of property appropriation, said police in the downtown District 1.

Police said the tourist, Oki Toshiyuki, 83, was jogging in District 1 on Saturday morning, and Dung accosted him near the Ben Thanh Market and offered to take him back to his hotel. 

Toshiyuki agreed. The trip to the hotel was several hundred meters and took five minutes.

The Japanese tourist offered Dung VND500,000 ($22), but he asked for more. While Toshiyuki was reaching into his wallet, the driver from it and left.

The normal cyclo rate in Saigon and other major cities in Vietnam is around VND100,000 per person per hour.

The Japanese man then told his son who was working in the city.

District 1 police then extracted CCTV camera footage and tracked down Dung. He had admitted to snatch money from the Japanese.

CCTV camera footage shows Pham Van Dung driving Japanese tourist Oki Toshiyuki in HCMC, August 3, 2019.

CCTV camera footage shows Pham Van Dung driving Japanese tourist Oki Toshiyuki in HCMC, August 3, 2019.

The penalty for property appropriation, as regulated in Vietnam’s Penal Code, is between one and 20 years in jail, depending on the value of the property and the damage caused by the act.

HCMC is a top tourist destination in Vietnam, receiving 4.2 million foreign visitors in the first six months of this year, up 10 percent year-on-year. 

But street snatchings and rip-offs often undermine its charm.